Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rising Concern for Bird Flu Outbreaks as Chinese New Year Approaches

An excerpt from The Telegraph:

"Hundreds of millions of Chinese are preparing to travel home during Chinese New Year this weekend, and the authorities are concerned that the world's biggest human migration could help spread the disease further.

After not reporting a single human death from bird flu since 2003, the last two weeks have seen three cases in three separate provinces. The Agriculture Ministry said it was moving quickly to quarantine anyone who came into contact with the victims.

"As the Spring Festival approaches, there are frequent movements of poultry products and the risk rises of virus outbreaks and transmission," the ministry said in a statement. "We have already asked the relevant provinces to strengthen their bird flu prevention work," it added...

More than 180 million Chinese will travel home on the rail network for Chinese New Year, with several million more flying. Dishes prepared from freshly slaughtered chicken and duck feature prominently in celebration feasts. This means a potentially greater risk of exposure to sick birds as people shop in markets and handle poultry or when the birds are transported to be sold, the World Health Organisation said.

Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said last week that the public should minimise contact with poultry, especially sick or dead ones, and that medical institutions should step up surveillance of flu cases."

For the full story, go this site:
The Telegraph

See also:
Reuters AlertNet
BBC News

No comments: